Disconnect to Reconnect
We know that screens and technology are a part of our everyday life and in many ways they have added greatly to our quality of life. We have a world of knowledge at our fingertips and we can communicate with someone across the world. However experts are concerned that too much screen time can get in the way of physical activity and/or true emotional interactions with others.
Some shocking facts:
- On any given day, 29% of babies under the age of 2 years are watching TV and videos for an average of about 90 minutes
- Children aged 8-18 spend an average of 7 hours a day in front of a screen, with almost five of those hours “plugged in” to a television, computer or video game for entertainment or recreation
- On average adults check their cell phone 110 times per day
Our brains are wired for face-to-face social contact. Children need real life “facetime”.
It is time to “RECLAIM” and take back that part of our lives.
R – elationships
“The way in which two or more people are connected”
Healthy family relationships help all members of a family feel safe and connected to one another. When children receive love and support in a warm family environment, they are better able to take on the childhood tasks of exploring their world and learning new skills.
They also learn from the family environment how to connect to other people and build healthy relationships.
Screens may provide entertainment or a basic lesson, however they cannot substitute real social and emotional connections
E – xercise
“An activity requiring physical effort”
Screen time keeps children seated for long stretches of time, which means it stops them from getting the physical activity they need. Children are not born with the habit to sit and watch screens; this is something they learn to do by watching and listening to others.
Children need to be active every day to promote healthy growth and development.
Kids who establish healthy lifestyle patterns at a young age will carry them –and their benefits – forward for the rest of their lives.
C – ommunication
“The successful sharing of ideas and feelings”
From the time they are born, children start communicating. Very early in their lives, they learn to understand what you are saying and to make sounds of their own. They are beginning to develop speech and language skills that will help them make friends and learn to read, and later, to succeed at school and on into their teen and adulthood years.
Screen time provides one way communication, reducing the opportunities for the children to communicate and interact face-to-face with other people.
L – imits
“A restriction on the amount of something that is allowable”
Children are exposed to more screens than ever before, including televisions, computers, gaming consoles, smartphones and tablets.
When thinking about how much time your child spends with screens, be sure to include all these different devices. Also include time spent viewing at home and in other places, like child care and school.
It isn’t just about the “how much”, but also about the “where”. Create screen free times such as no screens during meals, and no screen use before bed
Research shows that almost a third of Canadian children and teenagers aren’t getting enough sleep each night. Reserve the bedroom for sleeping only – keep cell phones, computers, televisions and video games out of the bedroom.
A – ttachment
“A feeling that binds someone to a person, thing or cause, often an emotional bond between and child and a caregiver”
A baby needs a secure base which needs to come from the relationship with their primary care giver. The infant needs to be held in the arms of their primary care giver: to be loved, to have eye contact, to be kept safe, to be prioritized, and to be cared for.
There is a lot of research that shows that kids who have healthy attachments go on to have healthy relationships. They do better socially and in school as they grow up.
Technology and screens may keep people distracted and entertained however they do not meet the hard-wired human need for connection and attachment
I – nterests
“A subject or activity that someone is excited, curious or enthusiastic about”
When children are involved in screen free activities that interest them they are able to learn more effectively. We know that children are naturally curious and allowing for free, unstructured play helps them to develop their imagination and creativity. Opportunities for creativity promote a child’s physical, emotional, social, cognitive and speech and language development
Parents and caregivers can encourage and support their child’s interests in a variety of ways such as: find books on their special interest at the library and read them together and ask questions (this encourages critical thinking and demonstrates support to the child)
By nurturing their interests in turn, parents and caregivers may learn more about their kids than ever before.
M – odel
“An example to follow or imitate”
For most children, the most important role models are their parents and caregivers, those who have a regular presence in their lives.
So when it comes to screen time, it’s important for moms and dads to have healthy digital media habits too.
Children see, children do (video)